KUNAR -- Forty militants handed over their weapons on Sunday (October 11) to local authorities in Asadabad, Kunar Province.
They included 34 members of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) and six Taliban fighters who had been operating in remote, mountainous areas in Sawkai, Watapur, and Manogai districts.
Members of the two groups surrendered separately but were present at the same ceremony.
"These 34 ISIS and six Taliban fighters surrendered to the government with 28 Kalashnikovs, eight rocket launchers and four PK [machine guns]," Kunar Governor Mohammad Iqbal Saeed told reporters in the ceremony held for their surrender.
"These fighters will live like common citizens," he said.
The ISIS fighters had been hiding in the mountains and were encouraged by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) to lay down their weapons and return to normal life, Saeed said.
The surrender of these groups will improve the security of Kunar, said Kunar Chief of Police Col. Muhammad Yousuf Mazlumyar.
"Our government has been completely Islamic since the first day it was established," but groups such as ISIS "were created as part of conspiracies by foreigners," he told reporters. "In reality, all these groups were set up only to kill Afghans and to destroy this country."
"Fortunately, people now realise that this is an Islamic government and it should be supported," he said.
"These militants who laid down their weapons and returned to a normal life will have a positive impact on the security of Kunar as they were fighting and causing insecurity," Mazlumyar added. "We hope that these fighters won't allow other fighters to operate from their areas."
The surrender comes as the Taliban and the Afghan government are engaged in slow-moving peace talks in Doha, Qatar.
ISIS in Afghanistan was largely defeated by the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) late last year, though some remnants remained.
"I had been with ISIS for the last five years," said Noor Rahman, who led an ISIS group in Dewagal Valley of Sawkai District in Kunar Province.
"I used to be with the Taliban, and then I joined ISIS. We used to fight against the government, and we were told that they are all infidels, but now I realise that all of them are Muslims like us."
"We should not kill each other under one name or another but live in harmony. Therefore, I came and handed over my gun to the government," he said.
"I call on all those militants who continue fighting the government to come and support this Islamic republic so that this country can become safe and civilians can live in peace, can make progress and take a breath," said Rafiullah Haidari, a former member of the Meshrano Jirga from Kunar Province.
Both the Taliban and ISIS are continuing to kill Afghans, which must be stopped, said Mawlawi Najibullah Haqyar, a religious scholar.
"This is not a holy war, and in a holy war, you don't kill your brother, your sister or your fellow Muslim, and extort money," he said.
"Both the Taliban and ISIS have started this war illegally; therefore, they must stop it, come to the government and lay down their weapons like these individuals," Haqyar said.